When the war on talent shifts to the war on jobs

Tony HaislarStrategic Account ExecutivePosted May 6, 2020

“The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead. Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area.” Bill Gates (Aug 2019) 

Managing Zoom calls with kids screaming and dogs barking in the background is the new normal. Blonde jokes offend a significantly smaller population than they used to. “Netflixing” has become an official verb and Peloton stocks are soaring. These are all things we can reflect on and laugh about. That is if you are still employed. For those that have been affected, it becomes a much different story and there are some important questions to ask: 

  • What am I doing to get ahead of the competition? 

  • What is my network doing now? 

  • Do I know what sectors are still hiring? 

  • Have I dusted my resume off and made it relevant to someone, outside of the company that just furloughed or let me go? 

Throughout my IT career, I have seen various ebbs and flows in the talent pool. These have always been gradual and somewhat predictable. Up until March of this year, we were on the upward swing. It was a candidate’s market. With the economy firing on all cylinders, job seekers could be picky, name their price, and turn offers down if something better came along (I observed this happen on several occasions). There was a level of arrogance that I had not seen. Instead of being grateful that a recruiter noticed their profile, they were annoyed that someone would even bother them. If you are in that boat, it may time to start doing some damage control. These recruiters may now become your lifeline. Believe me, I was a hiring manager when the market was like today. There were more candidates than there were positions. I had resumes for days but unless I had a story, it seemed to become another piece of paper sitting on my desk for review. 

The competition is going to become fierce. Those nice to haves like “polyskilled” and “T-Shaped” are going to become requirements. Here are a few suggestions that could be the difference between the door being opened or potentially slammed in your face. 

  1. Your Recruiter or Talent Executive is your friend. You need them as much as they need you. Treat it as a partnership. 

  2. Be honest with everyone you are working with. We all know you have choices but understand, we now have choices on whom we want to work with. Do not get yourself put on the “Do Not Call” status of someone’s database (We all have them). 

  3. Check your ego at the door. The jobs are now the scarcity and not the candidates. Be humble and thankful for your opportunities. 

  4. Be patient. We promise we are sharing the information and feedback as we get it. Companies and hiring managers can be more selective now. They understand that they now have the advantage and do not have to make snap decisions to prevent you from falling off the market. 

  5. Figure out what your differentiator is. What makes you unique and better qualified than your competition. We, in the IT Staffing world, have had to do this every day to survive.  

  6. Be open to constructive feedback and criticism. You may get responses that you do not like but take it and grow from it.  

  7. We will do our best to open the door for you but once it is open, it is on you to sell yourself to your prospective employer.  

    1. Know the client (what do they do/how do they do it/why do you want to work for them?). 

    2. Know what they are asking for in the job description and through the conversations, you have with your recruiters and account managers. We are going to share everything we know and give you the best advice we can to equip you for that interview. 

    3. Know yourself. Do not embellish your resume with things you have not done. This will bite you in an interview and could lead to a downhill spiral while trying to chase an answer to a question you have no clue about. It is ok to say, “I don’t know” or “I have not had the opportunity to work with that.” 

    4. Be prepared to pass the onboarding tasks. Imagine investing your time, and having others invest their time, and you’re to the point of an offer and you’re unable to pass a drug screen. Understand that you will almost certainly have to take a drug test. Many clients even require a hair follicle test. (Do not let the quarantine blues cause you to slip up.) 

  8. Be grateful. Do not waste people’s time. There is no harm in saying you are not interested, or you would prefer to work with someone else.  

  9. Take a personal skills inventory. Understand what you can do, what you cannot do, and what you can knock out of the park.  

Simply put, everyone has been impacted, whether that is directly or indirectly by knowing someone who has. 

Agility Connect was created to allow you to leverage your network, and increase your income. You can browse our job board, refer yourself or anyone in your network. If that person is placed, we pay a healthy referral fee (usually $1000 to $3000). 

Whether you are a job seeker, hiring manager, or someone that just wants to see what is out there, we would love an opportunity to chat with you and learn more about you. 

Tony Haislar Tony is a Strategic Account Executive at Agility Partners. He specializes in identifying candidates with niche skill sets that are not always identifiable in a simple resume.