After more than two decades in the Executive Search
business, I have learned a lot about what goes into a
successful hire. I try to impart my knowledge to both hiring
managers and candidates. Nevertheless, at many job
interviews I find myself listening to questions that make me
cringe and answers that make me want to cry.
Now it's my turn to talk.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All I Want For Christmas

It’s that wondrous time of year when adults like to reminisce about those irresponsible childhood days when the only worry of the season was what gifts Santa would bring.  As an adult, you may now be playing the role of Santa.  If you are both Santa and unemployed, the closest you come to irresponsibility is justifying the postponement of your job search because the holidays are not a productive time.  “After all, what company would be hiring now with all the parties in full swing?  I’m going to sit back and enjoy the holidays and wait until January 1.”

If you are actively pursuing a new opportunity, the above is one bad thought process. (No presents for you!)  I can tell you from personal knowledge that companies are hiring and that there are, in fact, many jobs that have gone unfilled for long periods of time.    And these jobs are not all oil rig opportunities in the Congo.
Yes, some open positions are those in which an employer is demanding a fully-trained, Mensa-qualified, low-maintenance, inexpensive individual who will be understand the job and be productive from day one – in other words, an employee that does not exist in human form.  And other positions are open long-term due to a difficult location, narrow skill set requirements, and/or salary issues.  But there are also prime, desirable positions that will open up in December and be filled almost immediately.  These are the positions you cannot afford to miss due to time-consuming Christmas shopping.

It has been my experience that many companies develop their annual plans in the September/October time frame (Don’t have a plan yet? Better get to it).  The final plan is in place by late November so that each manager can begin executing his/her piece of the plan. The forward-looking manager may well begin processing new 2012 staffing plans right about now.  As an example, if you are a sales manager and your 2012 plan calls for an additional salesperson, would you begin to recruit in January or February?  Not if you want a shot at a full year of benefit.  The smart manager will be recruiting now for a Christmas hire and a January 1 start.
At Ward & Associates, we have seen an uptick in phone activity in the recent month.  There have been inquiries as to the availability of candidates capable of being controllers, manufacturing managers, IT managers, sales support, and quality control managers.  It would appear that companies are either actively looking for specific candidates or are planning to do so very soon.  It is in your best interest that companies who may be hiring know you exist.  Be ready with a resume when an employer or a recruiter calls.  Continue all avenues of personal networking.  Make lots of phone calls. 

You may be some employer’s January 1 new hire, but not if you are taking a month-long holiday from your job search.

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