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Big Idea 2015: The One Trend That Will Impact Your Job

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In this series of posts, Influencers and members predict the ideas and trends that will shape 2015. Read all the stories here and write your own (please include the hashtag #BigIdeas2015 in the body of your post).

You might have read about the huge growth in jobs being filled in the U.S. this year. Year-to-date it’s now about 2.6 million net new jobs – the largest job growth since 1999. But, according to this chart, things might get even better in 2015.

The graph is a summary of the U.S. Department of Labor’s JOLTs report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover). Simply stated, it shows the total number of unique job openings with all companies in the U.S. As of October the number was over 4.8 million open jobs. The big decline in open jobs came in 2009 followed by modest increases through 2013. In early 2014, job growth took off with almost 1 million new jobs opened. Since new job openings lead to people being hired for these jobs within 2-3 months, it’s a great leading indicator of the future of the job market. Other than the hiccup in September 2014, things look very bright as we head into 2015.

With the job market accelerating in the U.S., here are some things companies and job seekers can do to get ready.

5 Things Companies Can Do to Minimize the Impact of Accelerating Job Growth

  1. Minimize the effect of voluntary turnover. I’m hearing from talent leaders around the world that their best employees are being sought out in increasing numbers by aggressive recruiters and their former co-workers. Companies need to intervene now to prevent this from becoming a bigger problem later. As a minimum, include an increase in attrition into your 2015 hiring plans.
  2. Build a proactive employee referral program. Make sure all of your employees reach out and connect on LinkedIn with their former co-workers. Company recruiters can now search on these connections as new jobs open up.
  3. Raise the bridge, lower the water or widen the river. As hiring needs accelerate there will be far fewer people who meet the stringent (and quite frankly, narrow-minded) requirements listed on most job descriptions. While paying a modest salary premium for the most talented and skilled people is appropriate, it might be better to hire more high-potential and non-traditional candidates who need a bit of coaching to get up to speed.
  4. Implement a results-based hiring process. Everyone wants to hire people who are results-oriented. However, it’s far better to define the results you needand then find people who are competent and motivated to achieve these results. This concept is the foundation of Performance-based Hiring.
  5. Make hiring managers responsible for hiring for the long term. Managers emphasize their short-term needs when selecting candidates while the best candidates select those jobs that offer the most stretch and future growth. Holding hiring managers responsible for bridging this gap requires them to better balance potential with skills and experience.

5 Things Everyone Can Do to Take Advantage of an Expanding Job Market

  1. Be open-minded, even if you’re not looking for a job. Take the call from the recruiter, but quickly ask the person to describe the real job challenges. If the recruiter knows what they are, continue the conversation.
  2. If you are looking for a job, do not apply directly to any job posting. On average, companies get 100 to 200 resumes for every job opening. So to increase your odds of getting noticed, don’t apply directly unless you’re a perfect fit. Instead, implement a 20/20/60 job-hunting plan to cover all channels.
  3. Build an ever-expanding business network. Networking is not about meeting as many people as possible. It’s about meeting a few people you know who can vouch for your performance. Then ask them to refer you to people you don’t know. Then once you get to know these people, ask them to refer you to others they know.
  4. Do not use your resume as your primary marketing material. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is short, robust and impactful with a compelling tagline under your name. Combine this with a slideshow, a short introductory video, a1-Page job proposal, some type of mini-project and a series of compelling emails to round out your marketing kit. You’ll use this to get through the back door.
  5. Use the job posting as a lead into the back door. When I was a full-time recruiter, I used job postings to find out which companies were hiring and then contacted the department heads to get the search assignment. Job seekers can do the same thing. Use your personal marketing material as a means to obtain an exploratory meeting. Take the lead during the meeting by conducting a needs analysis to understand real job requirements. Then describe something you’ve accomplished that addresses each of the major challenges.

Of course, there are more things companies, recruiters, hiring managers and job seekers can do to hire the best people and find the best jobs, but this is a good start. It starts by being different, not by being more efficient doing all of the things you’re now doing.