Recently, I asked this question on LinkedIn:
Do you think that a job seeker has to be MORE prepared than before?
I’ve been thinking about how different the job market is today from even a few years ago. Between the current economic times and our ridiculously high unemployment rates, I think that candidates have to be more prepared than ever before—do more research, be more assertive, demonstrate their motivation, and go the extra mile in their follow up. This is what I’m seeing as a recruiter, but I wanted to know if that’s what hiring managers think, too.
I got a very interesting response. The overwhelming feeling is that yes, job seekers do need to step up their game because it’s an employer’s market now and they are able to pick and choose who they want—and yet they’re very surprised by how many job seekers haven’t gotten the message.
Well, here it is: the bar has been raised.
One even called the current job market an “arms race.” If you want to win, you’ve got to constantly be finding ways to be better than the next guy.
Today’s hiring managers are looking for knowledge, hunger, and creativity in their top candidates. They are expecting you to bring your “A” game every time. And if you don’t, they can just wait for the next candidate because it won’t be long.
Here are some of the best job search tips I got from this discussion:
- Start your interview prep well before you have an interview scheduled. Two days is not enough time to prepare for an interview. Get your interview skills down pat (use our free 20-page Comprehensive Interview Prep Kit) and then start looking into companies.
- Research everything. The internet has made researching a company very easy, and if you don’t do it, you just look lazy. Use Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, news articles, everything you can find about the company—mission, goals, obstacles, enemies, and opportunities.
- Be able to tell the hiring manager what’s in it for him. Why should he hire you? What are you bringing that the other candidates can’t?
- Develop your brand. That idea throws some people, but it just means to have a consistent message about what you’re an expert at and how you bring value to an employer. If someone else was going to describe you, what would they say?
- If interviews are going to be more competitive, you need to generate more interviews. Give yourself the best chance possible. Contacting hiring managers directly is the very best way to do that. And I don’t mean 10 of them, I mean 100 of them. If you want a job, you need to approach it like it’s your mission in life (and right now, it is). Go all out.