The UK employment sector has experienced an upheaval over recent years, with job seekers struggling to understand the best approach to secure employment. In a bid to help educate candidates, leading recruitment specialist Robert Half has released a top 10 employment guide to help prospective applicants understand what hiring managers are looking for in an employee and to better prepare them for that critical interview.
While some companies may be maintaining a tight grip on their outgoings in the face of an uncertain business environment, others have seen more optimistic growth and will be looking for employees with niche specialist experience. Irrespective of a company’s growth plans, one thing that is common among employers is the shortage in available talent and candidates that make full use of their skills.
Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said: “Knowing what the hiring manager is looking for in an employee is a must in today’s competitive environment. Only then can the job seeker properly present themselves as a viable candidate. Employers are looking for job seekers to prove that they have practical experience and a high skill set. They will be looking for someone who can prove they will be a solid return on investment; and being able to prove that you have something extra in an interview is critical.”
Robert Half’s top 10 tips for job seekers.
1. Remain positive – This may be easier said than done, but employers want to work with people who are enthusiastic, remain poised and perform well under pressure
2. Demonstrate your ROI – In your CV and discussions with hiring managers, communicate how you’ve contributed to previous employers’ bottom lines, including specific ways you helped firms save money or boost profits
3. Go over your job hunting materials – HR directors indicate that reviewing CVs is the most challenging or time consuming component of the recruitment process. Ensuring your materials are clear, to-the-point and free of errors will help prevent your application from being passed over
4. Keep in touch – UK HR directors, on average, say that nine days is the appropriate length of time for applicants to contact hiring managers after the CV has been submitted. Staying in touch will demonstrate your enthusiasm, although ensure that you do not pester
5. Stay patient – It takes almost 8 weeks for companies to fill a management level role and 6 weeks for a staff level role. For job seekers this may mean staying patient during the job search as companies are somewhat cautious about hiring, with more senior-level sign offs required for additional headcount
6. Specialise – Go where the jobs are. If you are just breaking into the job market, research what industries and professions are hiring and target your education and skills to these areas. Jobs in accountancy, regulatory/compliance and IT, for example are on the rise and many employers report challenges in finding the staff they need to fill critical roles
7. Network in-person and online – Employers are increasingly turning to their contacts to find new hires, making networking even more important for job seekers. Also, turn to your existing network to see if they could provide a referral into their company
8. Hone your skills – Assess what qualities you possess that would be suitable for your chosen career or desired company. For instance, executives in the financial services industry indicate that competitive nature and leadership skills are the key attributes in their sector
9. Work with a specialised recruitment firm and consider temporary opportunities – Choose a firm that has an extensive network in the local business community and can provide career guidance. In addition, offering to work on a temporary basis allows you to ‘audition for the job’, improving your chances for hire if a permanent opportunity comes available
10. Reward yourself for reaching different milestones. This will help boost your morale and confidence.
Phil Sheridan, continues “There are many unintentional errors that candidates make, but those who do their homework and remain poised throughout the interview process will be able to engage in more productive and relevant conversations with prospective employers. Don’t lie on a CV or in the interview; more often than not candidates will be found out. Also, candidates often arrive at an interview with little or no knowledge about the company, the role they are applying for or in some cases who they are meeting. Candidates should arrive fully briefed about the interviewer/company, the content of their CV and be able to relay job-related anecdotes that reveal their most marketable skills.”