Good news, job seekers. It’s a seller’s market.
Thanks to low unemployment and an increase in job postings, not only do you not have to jump at the first offer that comes your way, but you can be choosier.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the number of job openings across the U.S. remains at historically high levels, with 7.1 million openings at the end of February. In fact, there are more jobs to be filled today than there are unemployed people to fill them.
The shortage of talent is forcing employers to rethink their hiring practices with greater emphasis on skills and behaviors that might make you the right “fit” even if you don’t match experience requirements perfectly. The review process is still stringent, but job seekers have a new advantage in the hiring process if they are able to make their resume more appealing by highlighting strengths that transcend virtually all positions, such as skills in communication and writing, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, time management, as well as the ability to be adaptable, collaborative and exhibit a positive attitude.
This is the time to look for a position that will be a good fit for you now, and which also has longer-term potential.
An interview is a two-way street. While most people focus on trying to say the right things and impress the interviewer, they also need to impress you.
Here are five things to look for in a new employer:
- Culture. Do you align with the company’s core values and beliefs? It’s all about finding a good fit. Does the company’s core mission and values align with yours? This should be a key determinant in how you select a potential employer.
- Opportunity. Does the organization offer learning and development and career growth opportunities? Don’t be shy to ask what kind of career path can be expected for a high achiever with your background. If there are interesting options once you’ve got your feet wet and established yourself, you may have found your new home.
- People. Who will you be working with? Does the CEO or other high-level executives work with people in your potential position? The more that happens, the more opportunity there is to impress them and move up the ladder.
- Stability. Read up on the company’s performance. There’s nothing worse than landing a job only to be the first one on the chopping block if the company’s financial performance declines. Before you accept any offer, do some research on the company’s bottom line. Is it profitable? Is it the market leader or a pretender? Will the company have the growth and profitability that will provide the resources to offer interesting opportunities?
- Work-Life balance. Does the organization offer flexibility? Some jobs still call for you to be at your desk during office hours but there are a growing number of opportunities to work in different ways, such as shared office space, teleconferencing, remote working and virtual teaming.
While some companies are raising alarms about a talent and skills shortage, smarter companies are looking to recruit differently, adapting and adjusting requirements, and hiring talented people who they can develop. So apply for jobs where you may not have an exact combination of experience and skills, and highlight those “soft” skills where employers place a lot of value.